Uncle Tupelo – Anodyne

Anodyne, the fourth and final album by Uncle Tupelo, was released in October of 1993. Anodyne is defined as “not likely to provoke dissent or offense; inoffensive, often deliberately so.” The music lives up to that definition, however, there was enough dissension within Uncle Tupelo to put an end to the band. It presents a folky, thoughtful approach to country music. Even though the album performed better than their past three releases, tensions between Farrar and Tweedy grew so high that Farrar announced his intention to leave the band, stating “it reached a point where Jeff and I really weren’t compatible.” The remaining members of the Anodyne sessions formed Wilco once Farrar left. Through all of the turbulence and discord Anodyne portrays the band at their very finest and displays the true potential of a Farrar/Tweedy partnership.

“High Water” exemplifies the magic the duo were able of creating when they found moments of harmony. Max Johnston’s ethereal pedal steel captures the concept of a fading harmony and fighting the inevitable failure that comes with time. It was random circumstance that brought them together and time that tore them apart, leaving them facing a disturbing lack of common ground.

“Try to face up to the blinding sun
Racing for the final word to come
Facing up, it’s hard to stay devout
I can see the sand and it’s running out
And it’s running out
We quote each other only when we’re wrong
We tear out the threads and move along
We can’t seem to find common ground
I can see the sand and it’s running out
It was only circumstances
But it’s the difference, it gets in the way
No race is run in this direction
You can’t break even
You can’t even quit the game
The current drags to the bottom
A hemorrhage that moves us around
It pulls and beckons in a strong direction
High water forever bringing us down
I can see the sand and it’s running out
And it’s running out”